• If you haven't done so already, please add a location to your profile. This helps when people are trying to assist you, suggest resources, etc. Thanks

A piano accordion story

lunarluxau

Member
Site Supporter
Joined
Jun 3, 2020
Messages
37
Reaction score
13
Location
Warwick, Queensland, Australia
Hi all, I'm new to the forum, and in my post in the "New on here" forum I mentioned that there was a story behind the event that inspired me to rekindle my relationship with the accordion, and here it is:

My dad used to play piano accordion in dance bands in the 50s and 60s - this was partly because he had a passion for music (and the piano accordion in particular), but also to generate a little extra income to support his growing family. In accordance with the economic situation of the times fewer people could afford to hire dance bands, and dad's band was having to travel further and further to find gigs. This meant he was sometimes away nearly all weekend, which wasn't a good thing with a growing family.

Dad finally decided he would go out on his own, so he was a more affordable option, and could focus on gigs in the local area. The accordion dad had at the time was a 41/120 Excelsior with a red perloid finish. He loved that accordion, partly because it had a lovely tone, but also it had a smaller number of reed sets, and so was lighter to play on stage. But he decided that an electronic organ would be a more versatile instrument for him as a solo musician, so he bought a Yamaha Electone. With limited funds he had to sell his beloved accordion to be able to afford the organ. But he couldn't bear the thought of not having an accordion, so he bought a little 12 bass accordion - just so he could keep a hand in. That was the accordion he taught me to play on.

Dad had many successful years as a solo musician playing small gigs in the local area, including weddings, parties, country dances and school dances, along with weekly engagements at some of the more popular pubs and clubs in town. Along the way he acquired a second hand Excelsior accordion, full sized, which he would sometimes play at these gigs as well. While he was happy to have a full sized accordion again, he didn't like it as much as his old Excelsior, and he once told me that selling that accordion was the biggest regret of his life.

Eventually dad retired from his working life (but was still doing gigs, though slowing down a little bit). Never one to be idle, he spent a lot of time on another passion - restoring old furniture. So he was always visiting second hand shops looking for furniture to restore. One day he was in a shop and they had an accordion for sale - a red perloid Excelsior that seemed very similar to his old one. He wasn't really in the market for another accordion, but asked the shop owner if he could have a tune on it. As soon as he started playing he knew it was exactly the same model as his old accordion, light, beautiful tone, and it was in great condition. As much as he wanted to buy it he couldn't really justify it. As he was putting it back in its case he noticed a name on the case. It had been scrubbed out, but he could still make out the outline of the letters. Of course, it was his name! Naturally there was not doubt he had to buy it back.

He asked the shop owner how he had come by the accordion. It turns out that it had been with the family dad had sold it to over 30 years previously. They had bought it so their son could learn it, but he only had one lesson and decided it wasn't for him. The accordion stayed, unplayed, all those years under a bed, until it was brought into the shop to be sold.

If selling the accordion had been one of the biggest regrets in dad's life, getting it back was one of the happiest moments. Dad has passed on now, but I proudly have the accordion in my safe keeping.
 

Dingo40

Been here for ages!
Joined
Nov 27, 2017
Messages
2,020
Reaction score
556
Location
South Australia
Dave,
A very touching story!
Thanks for sharing  :)

Young people these days don't know how good they have it, COVID19 and all!
For example , in your dad's day, there's would not have been anything likely a "jobsaver allowance " like today.

My own father in law, during this same era, worked at three different part time jobs to support his family and put a roof over their heads,

I remember schoolmates being restricted to two small slices or bread with their meals: there was practically no obesity in those days  :p

I do remember many dance bands having an accordionist in their lineups, even dancing to such.

Thanks again for sharing this story! :)
 

lunarluxau

Member
Site Supporter
Joined
Jun 3, 2020
Messages
37
Reaction score
13
Location
Warwick, Queensland, Australia
Dingo40 said:
Dave,
A very touching story!
Thanks for sharing  :)

Young people these days don't know how good they have it, COVID19 and all!
For example , in your dad's day, there's would not have been anything likely a "jobsaver allowance " like today.

My own father in law, during this same era, worked at three different part time jobs to support his family and put a roof over their heads,

I remember schoolmates being restricted to two small slices or bread with their meals: there was practically no obesity in those days  :p

I do remember many dance bands having an accordionist in their lineups, even dancing to such.

Thanks again for sharing this story! :)

Thanks for your reply. I just thought it was too good a story not to share. And you are right, they were very different days back then. I remember chicken being such a luxury item that we only had them on special occasions, such as Christmas. It was the same with soft drinks. No wonder we were all skinny :)
 

Dingo40

Been here for ages!
Joined
Nov 27, 2017
Messages
2,020
Reaction score
556
Location
South Australia
Dave,

I was nine years old before I as much as had my first taste of chicken.

Even when I was in my first regular job, raffles for a "dressed " ( meaning "undressed ") chicken or a tray of butcher's meat were common and as popular as "cross lotto" is today. :)

There was no TV until 1957, and no plethora of cheap TV snacks to stuff yourself with. You walked or rode your pushbike everywhere, daily. Hence, practically no obesity. :)
 

Stephen Hawkins

Experienced Gentleman.
Joined
Jan 25, 2016
Messages
1,633
Reaction score
32
Location
Lancashire, England.
Hello Again Dave,

Thank you for sharing a wonderful story with us. I'm sure you are proud of your Dad, and I'm willing to bet that he was equally proud of you.

I was born soon after my Dad returned from the Far East, and well remember the rationing to which you refer. England was broken and bankrupt after the war, but not totally demoralised.

Though I now enjoy a life of relative ease and modest wealth, I still remember, with affection, the days when we had little. We made the most of the little we had in those days, and it is most annoying to hear people today bleating about how little they have. Everybody now expects, without effort, to have the latest mobile phones, i-pads and games consoles.

We made our own trolleys (soap boxes) out of scrap timber and old pram wheels from the dump. We picked coal for our fires from railway embankments, after it had fallen from passing steam locomotives. (and carried it home on the trolleys we had made.)

None of this was expected of us, but we liked to make our contribution.

Kind Regards,

Stephen.
 

Tom

Prolific poster
Site Supporter
Joined
May 1, 2013
Messages
1,954
Reaction score
379
Location
USA
Great story, thanks! Are you currently playing that accordion?
 

NickC

Active member
Site Supporter
Joined
Apr 24, 2020
Messages
194
Reaction score
127
Location
NJ-USA
Great story. Thanks for sharing.
 

Similar threads

Top